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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    My argument had nothing to do with strong parties being good for libertarians, but in being good for America. You certainly won't get any argument from me that having 535 members of Congress all fighting from their independent perspectives and refusing to compromise, or "sell-out" would result in a complete lack of legislation passed. To the Libbies, that might be a good thing, but I'm guessing most Americans actually want Washington to act on their behalf, not just stand around getting paid for doing nothing.
    It depends on which principles you are upholding. However, the system was intentionally designed to make passing legislation difficult, because of the massive power the federal government has, even when smaller. Legislation is power of force, and that can lead to sweeping changes. Sweeping changes are not always good things.


    This Ron Paul love mystifies me. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you don't belong to The Cult of Paul (and I know you know the kinds of people I'm talking about.) But even just the casual Paul supporter confuses me... I mean, the man almost never accomplishes anything. It'd be like someone from my side picking Russ Feingold as a hero. Good guy, and I agree with most of his beliefs, but other than "standing up on principle," how is he important?
    Never having voted for a tax increase in 20+ of federal government is a HUGE accomplishment. "Getting legislation passed" may be your definition of a successful politician, but a lot of times it's what you vote AGAINST that is important. Like the Iraq War.


    Like I said before: bucking the party establishment means getting tons of alt. media headlines and netroots dollars, and Paul has certainly tapped into that. But think about the people who contribute online - left or right - they tend to be white, well-educated, have disposable income, live in cities or college towns, and are most likely not to identify with a major party. Who's interests do you think will be served? That might be a bit better than the old $1,000/plate dinners, but let's not confuse Netroots appeal with true democracy. And I say this as someone who fits that profile and contributed online to the Dean campaign in '03.
    The United States is NOT a democracy, so what is the problem? The government is supposed to have checks and balances to constrain itself AND the will of the people. There is such a thing as a tyranny of the majority.


    Yeah, but you also admitted it's in your best interest to see ALL legislation fail, so I guess you'd applaud anyone who joins any filibuster at any time.
    I didn't write that. I would have applauded the 13th Amendment, clearly. Most 20th Century legislation has been neutral-to-negative, though.


    First of all, don't patronize me. It's not as if I have always assumed there are two sides to every argument and this whole new world of possibilities is just somehow beyond the grasp of my imagination. I just believe that in order to actually accomplish something, Americans need to at least have general agreement on a basic premise.
    And I disagree. Americans accomplish things every day in spite of the government.


    Look, if I had an opportunity to re-design the country MY way, I'd make it much easier to pass Constitutional amendments, so we don't have to rely on unelected, activist judges making policy. I'd abolish the electoral college, enfranchise 16-year olds, institute Instant Runoff Voting nationally, and end Presidential term limits.
    Sounds like a nightmare.


    But, guess what - I don't get to hit reset on this country. It's virtually impossible to amend the Constitution, so if I want to see the kinds of changes I'd like to see, I have to support those "activist judges;" we HAVE an electoral college, we HAVE term limits, we don't have IRV, so if I want to see something accomplished, I have to play within the rules that I am given. That's the purpose of a consensus. It keeps people focused on the possible rather than encouraging 300 million people to mount vanity campaigns because they get a kick out of political theory.
    Your attitude is bizarre to me. What is wrong with expressing your individual political beliefs again?


    What, my jab at the tea-party folks? They can't go five minutes without referencing a Founding Father or justifying their opposition to some policy or another by saying "that's not what the Founders intended." But it strikes me as a little silly to say that the Founders represent the only version of True American Values, and everything that's happened since 1789 has just bastardized those values.
    You can support the values and spirit of the Founding Fathers while living in 2009. You have to remember, the Constitution is THE supreme law of the land. Given that the vast majority of what the federal government does is either not authorized or explicitly prohibited in the Constitution, can you blame people for that line of criticism?


    That is within your rights, and what is a demonstration of narcissism are two different things. Yup, totally within your rights. And in my opinion, an absolute display of narcissism.
    You might want to consult a dictionary for a better definition of "narcissism," because yours is severely lacking.


    Here's an interesting fact: according to the Gallup poll, in 1964 over 70% of Americans trusted the federal government; in 1996, fewer than 20% of Americans gave the same response. Could've been Watergate, Vietnam, any number of things, but it certainly makes governing pretty tough to do. As a Libbie, I'm sure you love that trend. But as someone who actually wants to solve America's problems and believes government is an appropriate avenue to use, it seems like until we get back to some basic level of TRUST (not always agreement, but at least trust), we'll never be able to solve anything.
    Libertarians DO want to solve America's problems. We just believe that the government often causes them or makes them worse with its "solutions." The attitude of "but somebody needs to DO something about it!" is not always positive. And there is always a question of which somebody should be the one to do something. The government isn't an Easy Button.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    How do you feel about the minor parties forming coalitions (officially or unofficially)? I know last year, Mike Gravel ran in and dropped out of the Dem primary, endorsed a Green Party Presidential candidate, and then joined the field of LP candidates. Creepy. And back in '04 when Badnarik and Cobb were debating each other... seems like half the time they care more about the insider/outsider dichotomy than they do the ideological dichotomy.
    I don't find that particularly creepy. And third party candidates have a right to bitch about the insiders. They formulate campaign laws that are meant to line their own pockets and keep third parties down. It's incredibly unfair.


    Interesting mix. Grover Cleveland? You a gold-standard fan then? Guess that would make sense from Cleveland to Paul. Seems like this is a pretty down-the-line libbie list (except for the hypocrisy of Flake who likes a few too many earmarks for most doctrinaire libbies. Didn't he just finish some survivalist thing out in the wilderness or something? What he loses with hypocrisy, I guess he re-gains with symbolism.) Thanks for the list - this gives me a good idea of where your coming from - Trey Parker, Penn and Teller on the "personal freedoms" side; Goldwater, Paul, Friedman and Stossel on the unfettered markets side. I don't know much about Napolitano, except that he's on Fox and has a radio show too.
    Libertarian jurists are few and far between these days, so I like Napolitano. Grover Cleveland was probably the last POTUS who would pass a libertarian litmus test of today, so I like him. I definitely would have been a Bourbon Democrat in the last quarter of the 19th Century. The gold standard/anti-Fed stuff isn't a big deal for me, although I think that the U.S. has messed up our currency something fierce since going off the gold standard. I am not ideologically opposed to the Fed, and I hope it remains outside of Congressional purview, although I'd supporting auditing it to see what exactly is going on with our money.


    On a sidenote, Cleveland... thank God WJB followed him and re-made the Democratic Party
    Thank God WJB always lost.


    Trying to figure out the kind of libertarian. The Randians DO believe that all decisions can be made rationally.
    Kind of tautological if you are asking if one is an Objectivist also.


    So - skepticism toward government, and qualified acceptance of non-gov't institutions.
    Skepticism about unchecked power in general. The government has a monopoly on the legal use of force. That is an immense power. Everyone SHOULD be skeptical of people who want that much power.


    I know the two are strongly linked, but I don't think you have to be a Rand groupie (didn't they call themselves The Collective?) to be an Objectivist.
    There are strong aesthetic and epistemological tenets in Objectivism. It's a little weird to me to celebrate individualism all day long and then have people who think and talk and dress creepily similar. I'm much more of a cosmotarian.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  3. #53
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    Unfortunately (unfortunately in my mind at least), with the rise of internet-fundraising and alternative media, political parties are already weakened, and if the trend continues, could have very little influence. I think a lot of the problems we've had in the past decade or so are a result of a weakening party system.
    In the old days, representatives voted with their party about about 65% of the time. Nowadays, they vote with their party more than 85% of the time (incidentally, democratic representatives vote with their party more often than Republicans). For whatever reasons, party cohesion is much greater than it was.

    The "weak" party system (by international standards) is due to the fact that American representatives (unlike the case in most liberal democracies) are more accountable to their constituents than they are to oligarchic party elites. As to this state of affairs, you can thank or blame a.) the presidential system and single-member districts combining to ensure a two-party system where voters may hold a specific representative accountable for his actions and b.) the primary system, which ensures that representatives depend more on constituents rather than the party leadership for being nominated, receiving campaign support, and getting elected.

    On a side note, I find it interesting that many progressives bemoan the primary system, while its one of the few reforms from the progressive era that I whole-heartedly support.

  4. #54
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    I don't find that particularly creepy. And third party candidates have a right to bitch about the insiders. They formulate campaign laws that are meant to line their own pockets and keep third parties down. It's incredibly unfair.
    Sure... a coalition of the whiny. I remember by 2004, Ralph Nader made more noise about being excluded from the stupid debates than he did about the actual issues he always championed. I could care less about the charges of him playing the spoiler, but it did bug me that the number one issue of the Nader campaign seemed to be the unfair treatment of Ralph Nader. Maybe I'll have to re-consult my dictionary for a definition of narcissism. It is getting old though with the third-party types... the argument that there's a big, bad establishment out to step on the quirky little outsiders.

    Thank God WJB always lost.
    George Will once wrote that Barry Goldwater won the 1964 election... it just took 16 years to count the votes. I guess by that logic you could say WJB finally won in 1932. And 1936. 1940... '44...

    Kind of tautological if you are asking if one is an Objectivist also.
    Hard to see how considering one question is essentially asking if you're a Randian, and the other is asking if you're an Objectivist. As I said in an earlier post, they aren't the same thing.

    There are strong aesthetic and epistemological tenets in Objectivism. It's a little weird to me to celebrate individualism all day long and then have people who think and talk and dress creepily similar. I'm much more of a cosmotarian.
    What the heck is a cosmotarian?

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    Sure... a coalition of the whiny. I remember by 2004, Ralph Nader made more noise about being excluded from the stupid debates than he did about the actual issues he always championed. I could care less about the charges of him playing the spoiler, but it did bug me that the number one issue of the Nader campaign seemed to be the unfair treatment of Ralph Nader. Maybe I'll have to re-consult my dictionary for a definition of narcissism. It is getting old though with the third-party types... the argument that there's a big, bad establishment out to step on the quirky little outsiders.
    It's completely true in this case, though. Do you know how intentionally difficult it is for third party candidates to get onto ballots? It's near impossible in some states.


    George Will once wrote that Barry Goldwater won the 1964 election... it just took 16 years to count the votes. I guess by that logic you could say WJB finally won in 1932. And 1936. 1940... '44...
    Ronald Reagan was no Barry Goldwater.


    Hard to see how considering one question is essentially asking if you're a Randian, and the other is asking if you're an Objectivist. As I said in an earlier post, they aren't the same thing.
    Ayn Rand's inner circle would disagree.



    What the heck is a cosmotarian?
    As opposed to paleolibertarian.

    Urban Dictionary: cosmotarian
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  6. #56
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post

    Never having voted for a tax increase in 20+ of federal government is a HUGE accomplishment. "Getting legislation passed" may be your definition of a successful politician, but a lot of times it's what you vote AGAINST that is important. Like the Iraq War.
    Hmm... maybe my history is a bit off. I'm trying to remember the legislation that Ron Paul led either to passage OR DEFEAT. How is voting a particular way an accomplishment? Master legislators have legacies, lone wolves are a dime a dozen. But hey, they get to stand up and boast about their ideological purity.

    The United States is NOT a democracy, so what is the problem? The government is supposed to have checks and balances to constrain itself AND the will of the people. There is such a thing as a tyranny of the majority.
    Sliding scale. I wouldn't advocate for ABSOLUTE will of the majority any more than you would advocate restricting the vote to a handful of well-educated landowners (I'm guessing). Still, on that scale, yeah, I'm a majoritarian. I support increasing democracy and I have a basic trust in the wisdom of the people. I'm not suggesting that we take a page from Rousseau or anything, and I believe that representative democracy is the only kind that will work, but yes, I would move in the direction of increasing majority rule.

    And I disagree. Americans accomplish things every day in spite of the government.
    Government is the elected representation of the American people. To refer to the government as if it is in some kind of oppositional relationship with Americans makes little sense.


    Your attitude is bizarre to me. What is wrong with expressing your individual political beliefs again?
    Who said it was wrong to express individual political beliefs? I've personally taken part in countless protests, and I have great respect for people who stand up for their convictions through acts of civil disobedience or activism.

    It's the purists who get to me. The people who enjoy the act of declaring (and sticking by) their personal beliefs more than they actually care about seeing something close to their hopes realized for the country. The people who use their politics as an extension of their personal identity.


    You can support the values and spirit of the Founding Fathers while living in 2009. You have to remember, the Constitution is THE supreme law of the land. Given that the vast majority of what the federal government does is either not authorized or explicitly prohibited in the Constitution, can you blame people for that line of criticism?
    American history didn't just fast forward from 1789 to 2009 either. What about Lincoln? Wouldn't you say the legacy of Lincoln is also pretty American? TR? FDR? Reagan? (at least appreciate how hard it was for me to include Reagan on this list...) That's my point. The tea-party people conveniently skip over 200 years of history. It starts with a little squabble with the Red Coats and jumps straight to death panels in the public option - with a quick nod to Beck's boogey-men of ACORN, czars, Saul Alinsky and ??? Woodrow Wilson?


    Libertarians DO want to solve America's problems. We just believe that the government often causes them or makes them worse with its "solutions." The attitude of "but somebody needs to DO something about it!" is not always positive. And there is always a question of which somebody should be the one to do something. The government isn't an Easy Button.
    I understand what Libertarians believe. It's the least complicated philosophy in the world to understand. I just disagree.

  7. #57
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Ronald Reagan was no Barry Goldwater.
    My goodness, you purists nitpick at everything.


    Ayn Rand's inner circle would disagree.
    Probably not the only time they would disagree with me.

    As opposed to paleolibertarian.
    Sounds like just a new-fangled term for libertarian. Seriously, if the hairs continue to split, every American can have their very own legit-sounding polisci label for their ideology! After all, conformity is for the conformists.

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    Hmm... maybe my history is a bit off. I'm trying to remember the legislation that Ron Paul led either to passage OR DEFEAT. How is voting a particular way an accomplishment? Master legislators have legacies, lone wolves are a dime a dozen. But hey, they get to stand up and boast about their ideological purity.
    Master legislators often have legacies that aren't worth mentioning.

    Check out Ron Paul's legislative history here:

    Ron Paul - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Sliding scale. I wouldn't advocate for ABSOLUTE will of the majority any more than you would advocate restricting the vote to a handful of well-educated landowners (I'm guessing). Still, on that scale, yeah, I'm a majoritarian. I support increasing democracy and I have a basic trust in the wisdom of the people. I'm not suggesting that we take a page from Rousseau or anything, and I believe that representative democracy is the only kind that will work, but yes, I would move in the direction of increasing majority rule.
    I think that majority rule comes dangerously close to mob rule. The U.S. government isn't supposed to do much "ruling" in the first place.


    Government is the elected representation of the American people. To refer to the government as if it is in some kind of oppositional relationship with Americans makes little sense.
    Why is that? Just because someone gets elected doesn't mean what they do is right. It doesn't even mean that what they do is excusable on the grounds that many or most Americans desired the action.


    Who said it was wrong to express individual political beliefs? I've personally taken part in countless protests, and I have great respect for people who stand up for their convictions through acts of civil disobedience or activism.
    Except libertarian ones? Or ones who want to express their beliefs through the ballot box with candidates you don't respect?


    It's the purists who get to me. The people who enjoy the act of declaring (and sticking by) their personal beliefs more than they actually care about seeing something close to their hopes realized for the country. The people who use their politics as an extension of their personal identity.
    So you want people to have political beliefs that have nothing to do with their personal identity? Or are you trying to say that you are against political peacocking? I am against that, but because you end up with what most liberals and conservatives do; i.e., "I disagree with this, so it should be illegal."


    American history didn't just fast forward from 1789 to 2009 either. What about Lincoln? Wouldn't you say the legacy of Lincoln is also pretty American? TR? FDR? Reagan? (at least appreciate how hard it was for me to include Reagan on this list...) That's my point. The tea-party people conveniently skip over 200 years of history. It starts with a little squabble with the Red Coats and jumps straight to death panels in the public option - with a quick nod to Beck's boogey-men of ACORN, czars, Saul Alinsky and ??? Woodrow Wilson?
    All those people were American, and all had spotty records at best. Woodrow Wilson was particularly terrible.


    I understand what Libertarians believe. It's the least complicated philosophy in the world to understand. I just disagree.
    So then why would you suggest what libertarians (small-l, for the love of Friedman) don't want to solve problems? If I were to turn it around on you, I would say "why do leftists want business as usual in government? Why don't they want to solve America's problems?" Don't be a hypocrite.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    My goodness, you purists nitpick at everything.
    Nearly quintupling the federal budget deficit isn't exactly the acme of small-government conservative fiscal policy.


    Probably not the only time they would disagree with me.
    Nor with me.


    Sounds like just a new-fangled term for libertarian. Seriously, if the hairs continue to split, every American can have their very own legit-sounding polisci label for their ideology! After all, conformity is for the conformists.
    It's a legitimate distinction for one subset of libertarian thought. It's a big tent over here. Lots of rich intellectual discussion and debate.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  10. #60
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    It's a legitimate distinction for one subset of libertarian thought. It's a big tent over here. Lots of rich intellectual discussion and debate.
    How is that a distinction in terms of libertarian thought? It seems like its simply a descriptor of personal morality for someone who happens to be a libertarian-it doesn't signify any policy disagreements or philosophical differences between the two types of libertarians.

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